Paul Simon turned 70 years of age last week. What? You didn’t hear anything about it, at least not like it was when Bob Dylan turned 70 in May?
That tells you a lot about Simon. The man who stood resolutely in Dylan’s shadow musically for the 1960s and 1970s lives and works quietly. Simon releases an album of new songs and does a tour every few years. But largely, he remains under the radar.
Not until his ground-breaking “world music" album “Graceland” in 1986 did Simon actually step outside of Dylan’s long shadow. Simon even poked fun at Dylan’s image in his witty song “A Simple Desultory Philippic.”
It’s easy to lose track of Simon now and then. He doesn’t call attention to himself and he doesn’t seek the spotlight. He has been an admirable rock and roll hero.
Make no mistake, though, Paul Simon is a giant. Not many people — Dylan among them — has written a greater number of memorable tunes, with “The Sound of Silence,” “Homeward Bound,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “The Boxer,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “American Tune,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” as well as the entire “Graceland” collection, among them. Plus, you have my favorite Paul Simon song of all, “Run That Body Down.”
Simon has enjoyed a long and honorable career. He has made his fans smile, cry, laugh, and think. We owe the man a great deal. Happy birthday, sir.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.
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